Eliminating Renewable Energy Requirements

ERO number
019-3471
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
Posted by
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
April 15, 2021 - May 25, 2021 (40 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
April 15, 2021
to May 25, 2021

Decision summary

We decided to repeal sections of the Electricity Act, 1998 (EA) and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA) that were introduced under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 to promote and prioritize the development of renewable energy.

Decision details

Three sets of legislative provisions in the Electricity Act, 1998 (EA) and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA) that promote and prioritize renewable energy generation projects were repealed on June 3, 2021, as part of Bill 276.

First, section 25.37 and clause 114 (1.4) (0.a.1) of the EA have been repealed. A related regulation (O. Reg. 326/09 - Mandatory Information Re Connections) has been revoked through a separate process.

To ensure the safe and reliable operation of the province’s transmission and distribution systems, a proposed renewable energy project may be subject to one or more grid connection assessments required by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), a transmitter or a Local Distribution Company (LDC). The assessments may provide details of the impacts the project would have on the existing electrical system if connected and the technical specifications needed for the project to connect. This repeal removes timelines for LDCs, transmitters and the IESO to complete grid connection assessments for renewable energy projects and ensure consistency for all technology types seeking these types of assessments.

This repeal also removes the requirement for LDCs and the IESO to report quarterly on the number of assessments they complete and the system capacity to accommodate more projects.

Second, sections 26 (1.1), (1.2) and (1.3) of the EA, and paragraph 1 of subsection 70(2.1) of the OEBA have been repealed. These sections created the authority to make a regulation that would provide priority grid access for renewable energy generation facilities. No regulation was made under this authority, so this prioritization was never implemented.

Third, paragraph 2 of section 96(2) of the OEBA has been repealed. This section required the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to consider the promotion of energy from renewable sources when determining if a Leave to Construct application for an electricity transmission project is in the public interest. Repealing this paragraph focuses the scope of the OEB's Leave to Construct hearings on the topics of price, reliability, and quality of service.

This repeal aligns with amendments made to the OEBA in 2020 (under Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020) to remove an OEB objective to promote renewable energy generation, including through the expansion or reinforcement of transmission and distribution systems to accommodate the connection of renewable energy generation facilities.

Comments received

Through the registry

111

By email

8

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

ENDM received 119 submissions through the Environmental Registry, by email and through the legislative committee process, including a petition with 130 signatures. All submissions received were considered in the ministry’s decision to proceed with the proposal.

Ninety-three of the submissions received expressed concerns about the proposal and were opposed to the changes that we had proposed. The proposed alternatives contained in these submissions was either contrary to the policy underlying the proposal or related to issues outside the scope of this proposal that would be better addressed through other processes or consultations.

There were three common themes in the submissions that raised concerns about the proposal. The first theme was that proceeding with the proposal would exacerbate climate change (included in 90% of concerned comments). The second theme was that renewable energy is more cost effective than other generation technologies (51%). The third theme was support for Ontario’s renewable energy industry (45%).

The sections we repealed were introduced over a decade ago as part of a suite of legislation and regulations that promoted and prioritized the development of renewable energy under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009. Since then, Ontario has achieved a clean and diverse energy supply – 93% emissions-free in 2020.

The changes we made have no impact on existing renewable energy generation facilities and will not disadvantage renewable generation facilities in future procurement activities. The changes align with the IESO's efforts to plan for future electricity supply in a manner that offers value to ratepayers by allowing any resource that can meet system needs to compete.

Renewable energy generation facilities will continue to be eligible to seek a connection to the grid. This initiative introduces consistency for all generators seeking grid connection assessments, putting renewable energy generation firms on an equal footing with their competitors.

Finally, the changes intersect with initiatives currently being led by the OEB. For example, through the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Connections Review initiative, the OEB is reviewing the requirements for the connection of DERs by licensed electricity distributors. The OEB is consulting with customers, DER providers, industry associations and distributors to identify barriers to the connection of DERs, and where appropriate, standardize and improve the connection process.

Also, as part of the Framework for Energy Innovation: Distributed Resources and Utility Incentives consultation, the OEB is working with stakeholders to identify and consider regulatory reforms that would facilitate investment in DERs based on their value to consumers. This may include exploring new and innovative ways to make system information available.

Connect with us

Contact

William Coutts

Phone number
Office
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Conservation and Renewable Energy Division
Address

77 Grenville St.
5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2C1
Canada

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-3471
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
Posted by
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Proposal posted

Comment period

April 15, 2021 - May 25, 2021 (40 days)

Proposal details

We are proposing to repeal three sets of legislative provisions in the Electricity Act, 1998 (EA) and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA) that promote and prioritize renewable energy generation projects. Ontario has built a clean energy supply. Prioritizing renewable generation is no longer appropriate.Going forward, Ontario will ensure value for ratepayers by allowing all resources to compete to meet system needs.

First, we propose to repeal section 25.37 and clause 114 (1.4) (0.a.1) of the EA.  Together with O. Reg. 326/09 (Mandatory Information Re Connections), these sections prescribe timelines for completing complex grid connection assessments for renewable energy projects and other requirements that apply to Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).  These provisions also prescribe requirements that LDCs and the IESO must report quarterly on the number of assessments they complete and the ability of the system to accommodate more projects.

A related proposal to revoke O. Reg. 326/09 was posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario on December 15, 2020 for a 50-day public comment period.

These actions would remove priority timelines for LDCs and the IESO to complete complex grid connection assessments for renewable energy projects and bring consistency for all generation types seeking similar assessments. Removing these provisions would help make Ontario more competitive by cutting red tape and reducing regulatory burden and aligns with the following ongoing initiatives led by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and the IESO, as set out below.

Through the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Connections Review initiative, the OEB is reviewing the requirements for the connection of DERs by licensed electricity distributors. The OEB is consulting with customers, DER providers, industry associations and distributors to identify barriers to the connection of DERs, and where appropriate, standardize and improve the connection process.

As part of the Framework for Energy Innovation: Distributed Resources and Utility Incentives consultation, the OEB is working with stakeholders to identify and consider regulatory reforms that would facilitate investment in DERs on the basis of the value to consumers, which may include exploring new and innovative ways to make system information available.

This would also align with the IESO's efforts to plan for future electricity supply in a manner that offers value to ratepayers by allowing any resource that can meet system needs to compete.

Second, we propose to repeal sections 26 (1.1), (1.2) and (1.3) of the EA, and paragraph 1 of subsection 70(2.1) of the OEBA, which create the authority to make a regulation that would provide priority grid access for renewable energy generation facilities. No regulation was made under this authority, so this prioritization was never implemented.

Third, we propose to repeal paragraph 2 of section 96(2) of the OEBA, which requires the OEB to consider the promotion of energy from renewable sources when determining if a Leave to Construct application for an electricity transmission project is in the public interest. Repealing this paragraph will focus the scope of the OEB's Leave to Construct hearings on the topics of price, reliability, and quality of service.

This repeal aligns with amendments made to the OEBA in 2020 to remove an OEB objective to promote renewable energy generation, including through the expansion or reinforcement of transmission and distribution systems to accommodate the connection of renewable energy generation facilities.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from April 15, 2021
to May 25, 2021

Connect with us

Contact

William Coutts

Phone number
Office
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Conservation and Renewable Energy Division
Address

77 Grenville St.
5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2C1
Canada